CHN’s Executive Director Deborah Weinstein joined with other organizations in the Clean Budget Campaign this week to call on Congress to do its job and pass bills to fund the full range of government services, and to reject inserting extremist policies in the funding bills that could not get majority support on their own. Her comments are included in a Facebook video presentation to be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 3:00 p.m.
The domestic emergency needs edition. You’ve heard some in Congress say we have an emergency along our Southern border. And yes, it is true that Republicans should join Democrats at the table and negotiate a comprehensive immigration bill – one that treats immigrants fairly, whether they are already here, or are seeking to come here due to facing political oppression or various other forms of violence at home. But as members of Congress stare down the FY 2024 appropriations process from both sides of the aisle, it is abundantly clear that we have a number of domestic human needs emergencies we must address.
With the House passage of the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, Congress is one important step closer to making needed improvements in the Child Tax Credit that will benefit 16 million children in families with low incomes and lift 400,000 children out of poverty this year. Now the Senate must act expeditiously to pass the bill, with no amendments that would reduce the Child Tax Credit’s help to children.
CHN this week urged Congress to vote for H.R. 7024, the bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. We urge members of Congress to actively support moving the bipartisan tax package at the first opportunity because of important changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). We think it is critical that the expansions to the CTC can take effect this tax season.
As we head into 2024, there is much to celebrate on the health care front. First, millions of Americans will save money on prescription drug costs in 2024 because of actions taken by President Biden and a previous Congress. And second, enrollments under the Affordable Care Act marketplaces are soaring to record numbers.
The Coalition on Human Needs supports the improvements made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) within the bipartisan H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. We urge members of Congress to actively support moving the bipartisan tax package at the first opportunity so it can take effect this tax season, and vote for this legislation.
This week the House Budget Committee advanced legislation to create a fiscal commission – a move that many warn could fast-track cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as well as a wide swath of non-defense discretionary programs important to the human needs community. During a Thursday hearing that lasted almost four hours, it was apparent – time and again – that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are on the table.
The Child Tax Credit expansion edition. House and Senate negotiators reportedly are close to reaching a deal on expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC), although final details remain uncertain. There are at least 19 million reasons to expand the CTC – that’s the number of kids who don’t receive the full credit (or any credit at all) because their families do not earn enough money. The proposal as reported so far would improve the credit for about 80 percent of those children and lift an estimated 400,000 above the poverty line, as estimated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Coalition on Human Needs joined more than 1,100 local, state, and national groups in urging Congress to reject harsh cuts in federal funding and instead to push ahead to finish the FY24 appropriations process, using the bipartisan Senate funding framework as a starting point for negotiations. In a letter, the groups warned that a lengthy continuing resolution “would be disastrous for the capacity of the federal government to serve the public, assist those in need, fuel innovation, and address national and global threats.”
After many months, Congressional leaders have reaffirmed the funding levels agreed to as part of the negotiation to avoid a federal default last year. Members of the Coalition on Human Needs have waited with increasing concern that congressional failure to act would result in millions of people losing vital help, limiting their ability to afford rent, food, heat, health care, and much more. We very much hope that confirming the spending framework will result in quick steps forward to make funding decisions that meet current needs.
Some congressional critics, ultra-conservative think tanks, and certain media vehemently dispute the need for domestic funds and services. Not real emergencies, they say. For those of us committed to social justice and providing essential human services that these funds support, it’s disheartening to hear the bogus, self-righteous arguments made in opposition to our advocacy efforts.
A special note to our readers: In 2023, we avoided a number of disasters on the human needs front. There was no government shutdown. There was no default on the national debt. In most instances, we avoided debilitating cuts in government funding to the programs that so many people depend on. Right-wingers in Congress threatened massive cuts and default, but their efforts were turned back, for this year, at least.